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COVID-19 RULES

Italian government to decide changes to Covid restrictions this week

With the presidential elections over, the Italian government on Monday has turned its attention to the raft of expiring and incoming Covid-19 health measures.

A man walks in central Rome wearing a mask with the Italian flag on it on December 23, 2021
Italy's measures for managing the coronavirus health situation are changing. Photo: Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

**Note: This article is no longer being updated. For the latest news on changes to Italy’s health restrictions, please click here.**

Two sets of announcements are expected this week aimed at “extending the expiring measures and putting the rest in order”, reports the Ansa news agency on Monday,

Meetings will be held on Monday to decide on changes including the future of Italy’s coloured ‘zone’ system and the duration of the ‘super’ green pass for those who have had a booster shot, with updates aimed at “simplifying the rules and starting a process that should lead to a normalisation of life in Italy”, Ansa writes.

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change from February 1st?

A cabinet meeting is scheduled to begin at 3pm local time on Monday, at which the government will review expiring rules including those requiring masks to be worn in outdoor public areas in Italy’s low.risk ‘white’ zones, and a ban on outdoor parties and concerts and closing nightclubs and dance venues.

These rules, which are set to expire on Monday, appear likely to be extended for at least two weeks according to Italian media reports.

Incoming rules planned to come into force from Tuesday, February 1st, will also be reviewed at the meeting.

Changes to ‘super’ green pass validity

This includes possible changes to the planned cut to the validity of Italy’s vaccine pass or ‘super’ green pass from nine to six months from Tuesday, amid concerns about how it will impact those who have already had a third or booster dose.

Those who had their booster early could see their pass expire in the coming days or weeks – an issue which primarily affects healthcare workers, who were among the first to be vaccinated with a third dose from September.

READ ALSO: Italy urges people to book boosters ahead of Covid pass validity cut

There is also widespread concern that the rule change will prove problematic for foreign tourists from countries which began administering booster shots earlier than Italy, such as the US.

This would be a serious problem in Italy, where a valid ‘super’ green pass or vaccine pass is now a necessity for many aspects of everyday life in Italy, as it has been made a requirement for access to everything from public transport to restaurants and hotels.

WIth no fourth dose available, the Italian government is now reconsidering the cut to validity according to Italian media reports.

It looks likely that ministers will decide to either keep the validity period at nine months, or even to extend it indefinitely for those who have had a booster. 

A bar owner shows a valid Green Pass on the VerifyC19 mobile phone application in central Rome on August 6, 2021

Italy’s reinforced green pass is now required to enter many venues including hotels and restaurants. Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

The six-month deadline is therefore expected only to apply to those who have had two shots, and the health ministry has been urging people to book their third dose ahead of the rule change.

At this point however, no changes have been officially confirmed.

Before a decision can be made on Monday, the government needs the green light from its panel of scientific experts, the comitato tecnico scientifico (CTS).

The end of Italy’s coloured ‘zone’ system?

The government will also discuss new changes, some of which are expected to come into effect immediately while others will be included in a new decree expected on Thursday, reports Ansa.

These include long-discussed changes to the country’s four-tiered system of coronavirus risk ‘zones’, which was not updated this week and looks increasingly likely to be scrapped.

Ministers are also expected to take steps to simplify the “cacophony” of rules on managing the health situation in schools in Italy, which Ansa says “is creating difficulties not only for the school system but also for millions of families”.

What about Italy’s travel rules?

Italy’s current rules for international arrivals, which are managed separately, are to be extended according to an update on the Italian foreign ministry’s Viaggiare Sicuri (Travel Safe) website.

The rules on travel from non-EU countries are to be extended for an additional six weeks until March 15th, while the government has confirmed it will simplify requirements for arrivals from within the EU.

The extension was contained within a health ministry ordinance signed on January 27th 

No further changes are expected as discussions on Monday are likely to be about domestic health measures only.

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s international travel rules change from February 1st?

For more information about Covid-19 restrictions in Italy please see the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

For members

COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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